Unlocking Energy Savings: The Truth About Smart Plugs (2024)

Smart plugs are becoming extremely popular as they are a great way to turn your appliances smart. Many homeowners use smart plugs as the first step to creating smart homes. Due to this high demand, many homeowners wonder - do smart plugs save energy?

A smart plug has several high-quality functions, and some of them provide helpful ways to conserve energy and save on your utility bills. Here is everything you need to know about how smart plugs save energy.

What Is A Smart Plug And How Does It Work?

Before discussing if smart plugs save energy, it is important to understand the functionality of a smart plug. So what is a smart plug? A smart plug is a power receptacle that installs into a conventional electrical socket. This smart plug also integrates into a smart home network. You can control whatever device you plug into the smart plug from an app on your smartphone or tablet.

You can also control the device through a virtual home assistant device. Many homeowners use a smart plug to convert ordinary devices into smart devices. This feature gives you greater control and a customisable option on ordinary appliances and fixtures. Some devices that work well with a smart plug include coffee makers, table lamps, fans, clothing iron, etc.

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For access to a large number of features and good reliability, it is recommended that you connect your smart plugs to Wi-Fi. You can connect a smart plug to Wi-Fi directly or use a bridge that plugs the device into your router. Here are some important features of smart plugs:

  • Some smart plugs are compatible with virtual home assistant devices; therefore, you can speak directly to your smart plug instead of using an app.
  • Smart plugs connect to the Wi-Fi, which allows you to control your plugged-in devices remotely through a smartphone or tablet.
  • Some smart plugs have voice control options that make them compatible with Google Assistant and Siri on your smartphone.
  • You can use your smartphone to set timers. These timers will automatically turn appliances on or off at the scheduled time.
  • With a smart plug, you can track the energy consumption of your appliances and fixtures. The data tells you how much the appliances are costing you in real time.
  • If you don’t want to control your smart plug with your smartphone, some plugs come with a handheld remote with a simple on/off feature button.
  • Smart plugs provide several safety features. If you forget to turn your appliances off, you can use the schedule feature to set specific operational times for your devices. If you are away from home, you can schedule your lights to turn on at night to keep away any intruders.
  • Specialised outdoor smart plugs allow you to operate and schedule outdoor lighting fixtures such as holiday lights. These plugs are manufactured to withstand several outdoor weather elements. Check outdoor smart plugs for an IP rating to ensure they are fit for outdoor use.
  • Many conventional devices go into standby mode instead of turning off completely. Devices on standby still consume energy and raise your energy costs. Smart plugs solve this problem by reducing latent energy consumption. Smart plugs do not act as standby saver plugs, instead, they turn the devices off completely instead of letting them go into standby mode. This allows them to act as energy monitoring plugs.
  • Smart plug strips not only plug in multiple devices but also send you an alert if the power strip is overloaded. A smart plug strip also sends you an alert in the event of a safety hazard.
  • Does a plug use electricity when switched on? and does leaving switch on use electricity? Yes, any plug that is plugged into a socket that is switched on will use up electricity. So, does turning off switches save electricity? Yes, if you have regular plugs around your space, turn them off when they are not being used. However, a smart plug will automatically switch off when a device is going into standby. Smart plugs are therefore energy-saving plugs.

Want to learn more about Smart Plugs? Check out our Blog on What is a Smart Plug?

How Much Energy Do Smart Plugs Use?

To understand do smart plugs save energy, here are looking at how much energy a smart plug takes up. In most cases, a smart plug uses approximately 1 watt of energy when it is in standby mode. This wattage also depends on the type of connection it uses. Since a smart plug is connected to something else in your household, it is always active.

However, if you connect your smart plug to Wi-Fi, your plug will only use about 1 to 2 Watts maximum in a day. You can expect even lower energy consumption if you use Zigbee or Z-wave network for your smart plug instead of Wi-Fi. For these networks, the average energy consumption is between 0.3 to 0.6 watts.

Do Smart Plugs Save Energy?

So, do smart plugs save energy? Yes, they do. When used correctly, smart plugs can help you save energy and, ultimately, utility costs in the long run.

Some smart plugs also provide energy consumption data which you can use to make your household more energy efficient. Some of these energy statistics also let you know where you are spending the most money. You can look at this data and make changes accordingly to save money.

There are some smart plugs that let you input your energy supplier’s price. This feature allows you to get exact information on how much the plugged-in appliances are costing you. With features such as these, you can make better decisions when it comes to your household’s energy consumption. Keeping track of your energy consumption is just one way in which smart plugs help you save energy.

If you're wondering, do plugged in appliances use electricity? As mentioned before, a large portion of your electricity costs come from appliances on standby mode. Many appliances do not shut off completely when they are switched off manually. These devices go into standby mode and keep consuming energy. For example, how much energy does a TV use in standby? On average, and LCD consumes up to five watts while on standby and between 24-50 watts while you're watching. And does turning tv off at the wall save electricity? Yes, while it may not a big cut in your energy bill, it is sure to help. Such standby energy-consuming appliances include the TV, gaming console, and laptop chargers. These devices continuously use energy even when you are not using them.

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Even though these devices are not fully operational, they still consume a significant portion of energy. The average UK household spends £55 a year on powering electrical devices on standby mode. This figure shows just how much money is spent on energy that is wasted. However, since these appliances power home entertainment systems, it is not practical to shut them off completely. You can solve this problem by using smart plugs.

Smart plugs work well with some of these appliances, and they can turn such appliances off completely instead of sending them into standby mode. A smart plug also provides access control over these devices, and you won’t have to touch electrical wiring or hard-to-reach places to shut these devices off.

Forgetting to turn appliances off is another way energy is wasted in a household. If you are prone to leaving your home with appliances still turned on, or if you are forgetful, you can greatly benefit from a smart plug. Plus, if you're wondering is it dangerous to leave a socket switched on? It is. Whether it's a clothing iron, coffee maker, or hair straightener, when you plug these devices into a smart plug, you don’t have to worry about leaving them on while you are away from home.

Smart plugs allow you to control your appliances remotely, and if you leave your home without turning the coffee makers on, you can simply use your smartphone to power off the appliance.

Check out our blogs on Energy Saving Tips and Ways to Save Energy Heating.

Setting Schedules With Smart Plugs

Apart from cutting down phantom loads and remote access, you can also cut down your energy consumption by setting up schedules. Many smart plugs have the ability to create schedules. You can use these schedules to ensure that all your plugged-in devices are switched off at the given time.

Some smart plugs also allow you to set up a sleep timer that powers off the appliances after a time period has passed. For example, if you think you forget to turn off your table lamps at night before going to bed, you can schedule a timer on your lamp with a smart plug. The smart timer plug will automatically shut off the lamp when you go to bed.

Some homeowners have energy tariffs that provide cheaper electricity at night rather than during the daytime. You can use a smart plug timer to turn on appliances during the evenings.

You can also set the timer to avoid turning on any high-energy-consuming appliances during peak electricity consumption hours. This ensures that you will keep your energy costs low in the long term, and you will also make a better impact on the environment.

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How To Use Smart Plugs To Save Energy With Appliances?

Now that you know how much energy smart plugs can save, here is how you can use smart plugs with specific appliances to save energy.

Gaming Consoles

Gaming consoles consume a lot of energy because they go into standby mode even when you power them off. A Playstation 4 uses 0.47 watts standby use. This wattage can add up and could take up a significant portion of your energy bills.

If your gaming console is plugged into a power strip the same as the TV, the energy consumption could be higher. These gaming consoles experience a higher power jump when in idle mode. The Playstation 4 consumes 85.6 watts on idle.

To avoid wasting energy, you should only turn on your gaming console when you want to use them. Also, plug your gaming console into a smart plug to stop the device from going into standby mode.

Countertop Kitchen Appliances

Most countertop kitchen appliances don’t consume much energy; however, appliances with a display or light consume energy on standby mode. Consider using a smart plug to get a better handle on their appliances’ energy consumption.

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Lighting Fixtures

Plug your table lamps into a smart plug to control the operational times. Smart plugs work well with lighting fixtures such as table lamps.

Many people tend to forget to turn off table lamps which can consume unnecessary energy. You can set a timer for the table lamps, so they don’t waste any energy. For additional energy saving, use an energy-saving light bulb such as LED to save energy while the lamp is in use. Check out our blog on Energy Saving Light Bulbs.

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Additional Tips For Reducing Hidden Power Consumption

Here are some additional tips for reducing your hidden power consumption.

Evaluate Your Energy Consumption

With better technological advancements, you can now see exactly how much energy your house consumes, and you can use this information to make efficient changes.

Most utility companies can provide data regarding your home’s energy consumption. You can ask for this data to show consumption on an hourly basis to get a better understanding of your household’s energy use.

Many smart plugs also have such features. Smart plugs can give you information based on an application’s energy use. Simply check the smart plug’s app to access such data. Once you have the information, check the hourly usage of your appliances according to when you are away from your home or when you think you don’t have any appliances running.

For example, you can check the hourly energy consumption of your air conditioning unit. This will give you a better understanding of how much energy is consumed by your home.

Identify High-Energy Consumption Devices

If you want your home to become energy efficient, you must note every appliance plugged in. Identifying all the different appliances will better understand how much energy each appliance and fixture consumes. You can write down the appliance along with their wattage to help you become energy-efficient.

The average UK household will have nine connected devices in 2020. This number is expected to increase to 50 devices by 2023 due to the popularity of smart homes. Writing down all the connected devices will help you keep track of energy consumption. When you are making a list of devices, identify all the devices that consume energy when turned off. This includes any devices that go into standby mode.

Once you identify these appliances, you can figure out a plan on how to use them more efficiently. You can also replace such devices with energy-efficient replacements. However, it is important to note that you don’t have to replace or turn off all appliances that consume energy even when they are not in use. Such appliances include refrigerators.

Use Smart Plug To Group Devices Together

You can use smart plugs to save energy on multiple appliances. Smart plugs are a great way to save energy because it doesn’t use a significant amount of phantom power even when they stay on. Many smart plugs come with certifications to ensure that they don’t use excessive energy.

Most households have several appliances plugged into multiple different outlets. Due to so many connections, you might waste energy. One solution to this problem is grouping your appliances on one smart plug. You can connect a smart plug to a power strip to have all your appliances save energy.

There are a number of ways you can group together your appliances. You can group your home entertainment appliances, such as speakers and gaming consoles, in your living room. In your home office, you can group together your desktop computer, printers, and chargers. You can also connect your countertop kitchen appliances for greater energy savings.

How To Buy The Right Smart Plug?

To ensure that smart plugs help you save energy, you should purchase the best possible smart plug device. Here is everything you should consider before purchasing a smart plug.

Look For Compatibility

The first thing you should consider when purchasing a smart plug is its’ compatibility with home assistants. If you are using a smart plug as the first step to building a smart home, purchasing a plug that works with virtual home assistants is important.

Not all smart plugs are designed to work this way; therefore, it is important to make the distinction before you make a purchase. Some virtual home assistants are compatible with a limited number of smart plugs. If you have an Apple HomeKit, you will have limited options of compatible smart plugs.

However, if you use Google Home or Alex, you will have a wide range of compatible smart plug options. In short, when you are looking to buy a smart plug to create a smart home, look for smart plugs that are compatible with multiple home assistant devices.

Look For the Best Features

Your preferred smart plug should have the best features to help you create an energy-efficient smart home. Here are some features you should look for.

Voice Assistance

For a smart home, you must consider purchasing a smart plug with a voice assistant, as this allows you to control your devices without using your smartphone. Several brands of smart plugs work well with different voice assistants, including Alexa and Siri. However, there are many smart plugs that don’t offer voice assistance. If you're wondering; does Alexa use electricity when not in use? The answer is yes, but only a few watts per hour. How much electricity does an Alexa use? Alexa uses approximately 2 watts per hour.

Scheduling Capabilities

Since the main goal of a smart plug is to provide better control over your appliances, you must look for a smart plug with scheduling capabilities. A schedule will help you automatically turn your appliances and fixtures on/off.

Away Mode Function

Away mode is a great safety feature available in some smart plugs. This mode will allow you to turn your lights and other appliances on while you are away for a limited period of time. With away mode, you can keep intruders away.

Consider The Design

Lastly, you should consider the smart plug’s design. The shape and size of a smart plug are important as this will allow the plug to fit in seamlessly with other sockets in your home. The shape and size of your smart plug should also not obstruct your wall sockets or other devices.

Visit Meteor Electrical to browse our range of high-quality smart plugs and other smart sockets. At Meteor, you can find the 16A Knightbridge smart plug that lets you control your devices remotely.

The Knightsbridge smart plug also supports voice commands, so you don’t need to use your phone to control appliances. You can also find the Knightbridge outdoor smart plug at Meteor. This smart plug comes with an IP66 rating for all your outdoor needs.

Want to make your home smarter? Check out our guide on how to create a Smart Home.

Unlocking Energy Savings: The Truth About Smart Plugs (2024)

FAQs

Unlocking Energy Savings: The Truth About Smart Plugs? ›

Since a smart plug is connected to something else in your household, it is always active. However, if you connect your smart plug to Wi-Fi, your plug will only use about 1 to 2 Watts maximum in a day. You can expect even lower energy consumption if you use Zigbee or Z-wave network for your smart plug instead of Wi-Fi.

Do energy saving plugs work? ›

They often claim you can reduce or even eliminate your power bill by plugging in their devices around your home. The fact is, there is nothing that you can plug in that will reduce your electricity usage and lower your household power bill.

What are the disadvantages of smart plugs? ›

Moreover, some smart outlets and plugs may not support high-wattage appliances, such as heaters, air conditioners, or hair dryers, and may pose a fire hazard if overloaded. Another disadvantage of using smart outlets and plugs for home security is that they may compromise your privacy and data security.

How much money does turning off plugs save? ›

How much electricity do appliances use when turned off? Some device may take just a small amount of energy but it's always wise to unplug, especially older inefficient products. The average amount of energy consumed by gadgets on standby or in a non-active state between 9% and 16% of a home's total energy bill.

Does leaving a plug switched on waste electricity? ›

Unless there is an external appliance which acts a current consuming load, there won't be consumption by the socket. So do not worry if you leave the switch of a socket on. It will not show on your bill! But for safety reasons, its best the switch is off when the socket is not in use.

What is the best power-saving device on the market? ›

Smart Gadgets to Reduce Electric Bill
  1. Solar panels. By far the priciest on our list, solar panels can help offset up to 100% of your energy use. ...
  2. Programmable Thermostats. ...
  3. Energy Monitors. ...
  4. LED Bulbs. ...
  5. Smart Windows. ...
  6. Tankless Water Heater. ...
  7. Smart Power Strips. ...
  8. Eco Chargers.
May 16, 2023

Do smart plugs increase electricity bill? ›

How Much Energy Do Smart Plugs Use? Increasing sustainability and going green with smart plugs are key to a healthier home. Smart plugs use about 1-2 Watts of power. Your energy bill is measured in kilowatts per hour.

Do smart plugs use a lot of electricity? ›

On its own, the average smart plug uses at most one, maybe two watts at any given time. Zero, like that of an unused standard outlet, would be ideal, but smart plugs require a small amount of electricity to stay connected to your Wi-Fi. Still, a smart plug uses only around 10 kWh over the course of a year.

Do smart plugs affect Wi-Fi? ›

Do Smart Plugs Slow Down WiFi? A typical smart plug will use very little WiFi capacity and should have minimal impact on WiFi speed. In most cases smart plugs will only communicate when their status changes (for example from off to on) so will be quiet for 99% of the time!

What is the difference between a smart plug and a smart socket? ›

Smart plugs are cost efficient and give users the ability to control electronics and appliances throughout a house. The concept is still the same—you plug electronics into the outlet and can control them via your smartphone—but smart outlets are hardwired directly into your home's electrical system.

How much does it cost to leave your TV on all night? ›

Leaving the TV on for 6 hours after work every night would cost you $1.30 a month. If you liked to leave the TV on all day, let's say you work from home and like the background noise, leaving the TV on for 12 hours a day would cost you $2.60 a month.

Does turning a TV on and off use more electricity? ›

However, standby mode still consumes power. Several studies have investigated the amount of energy used by televisions in standby mode, with estimates ranging from 2.25% to 5% of the energy used when the TV is on. Modern televisions consume between 0.5 to 3 watts of power when in standby mode.

Does a microwave use electricity when plugged in? ›

Microwaves are one of the most energy-efficient appliances in your kitchen. The amount of energy they use to heat food is much lower than that of a conventional oven. But like all appliances, microwaves still consume electricity when they're plugged in, even if they're not being used.

Should I unplug my microwave when not in use? ›

However, your microwave will always draw a little power even when it isn't in use. There are additional benefits to unplugging your devices. First, you can reduce the wear of the device by keeping it unplugged. This can extend the life of your appliances, so you don't have to buy new ones as often.

Should I unplug my washer and dryer when not in use? ›

Unplug Your Appliances for Safety

Leaving appliances plugged in increases the risk of fires. Consumer Reports studies show that about half of appliance-related fires are due to issues with the appliances themselves. Often, this happens when an appliance has been recalled, but the owner isn't aware of the recall.

Are smart plugs worth the money? ›

It's simple, really. Smart plugs help reduce wasted energy while consuming a negligible amount of energy themselves. Any and all of the five tips listed below can help you cut energy consumption with a smart plug, but they're not the only way to lower your electricity bill.

Are smart plugs cost effective? ›

Smart plugs can be a cost-effective and user-friendly way to save money on your energy bills while contributing to a sustainable future. It's important to think about how you intend to use these devices though – they won't save you money automatically, especially with their upfront cost.

Where should I plug in my power saver? ›

Near fuse box? Hi, our power saver electricity saving box can be plugged into any outlet in the house, no need to be near a fused outlet!

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